Pain & Pleasure of Living in Osa

AUTHOR: Alexandra Luty


I remember when my family first bought property here in 1999: I felt like we had gone to a distant part of the universe at sixteen years old. We traveled by unpaved roads for hours, across mountains and through rivers, only to land in a place where most of what we could see were forests and pastures intersected by more dirt roads.

Back home in Canada, I had just grown accustomed to surfing the world wide web, and now my family was seemingly traveling back in time to a place where we didn’t even have a phone in our home! There were two restaurants in Ojochal, and not a whole lot to do for a teenager from the city. But there was a certain magic to this place that pulled each of us in, laying its quick-growing, jungly roots deep into our hearts.

In the years since we watched bridges get built, roads paved, new businesses open, and more internationals visiting and moving to the region. Every year brought more recent changes and more people, but the pace of growth seemed natural and welcome, and life still felt like living in nature.

Seeing my beloved, tranquil Ojochal fast growing in the last two years, with so many trees coming down and houses going up, I wonder if we immigrants invited this level of change. Did we not appreciate the magic that was here? Or did we appreciate it so much that others inevitably caught on to the wonder we felt and naturally wanted to explore it for themselves?

They say those good secrets are hard to keep, and it is hard to conceal the glow from visiting this beachside mountain jungle paradise. Back in Canada, people would see the whole-hearted beam on my face and the sun-kissed glow on my skin and wonder where it was that I kept going and returning feeling so content.

Of course, nothing is perfect. And, of course, we were not the first – nor the last – to discover this special place. The notion of ‘paradise’ lives in the hearts of those who are sated here and unwilling to leave. We are true believers in what makes Osa feel like paradise. It is still the wild, untamed beaches of this area. The verdant green mountains still dip their toes in the coast. It is still the tranquil, good vibes of living a slower style of life, more in sync with nature’s rhythms.

As we approach the tipping point of world renown, I am reminded of how things here have changed, not just for the worse but also for the better.

Technology is vastly improved, with high-speed fiber optic internet available almost anywhere in the country (we even have phones now, which we didn´t have back then). Infrastructure like bridges, paved roads, consistent water supply, and more arrived alongside population growth. Access to schooling and the quality of curricula have also improved as more foreigners with school-aged children find themselves seeking a more straightforward, peaceful way of life for their families. And a sense of community continues to be a central focus that ties in all the different people of this remarkable region. People here work together and look after our neighbors, and friends in times of struggle, be it a fallen tree or a flood.

I believe that if we focus on how each of us can help one another, we can find a balance between why we have chosen the Osa to settle and what good we can bring to the table. Teamwork makes the dream work, and together we can ensure that growth and progress do not mean scrapping all of the good we have created and maintained over time.

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